I recently celebrated my 56th birthday. I must be honest that it put a spotlight on the fact that life is passing much too quickly. I always thought I would have accomplished more in 56 years. I did, however, accomplished one of my childhood dreams. I am a parent.
Having great parents myself and living with the many foster children my parents brought into our home developed in me a strong desire to have lots of kids of my own and be the best parent I could be. I am incredibly thankful that God gifted me with 3 great kids.
In my youth I had developed a picture of what a great parent looked like which included teaching my children three main things; how to love Jesus, how to love people and how to do life well. As someone with an idealistic personality this picture seemed simple enough. However, no matter how clearly we see our perfect picture taking shape, I believe, we all will come to a place where the beautiful pictures we imagined in the story book of our life soon fade into portraits that we would rather not look at (or show others). Just like those middle school pictures we had to look at the day that envelope was handed out.
Those middle school pictures always revealed the things we least liked about ourselves. My big nose, crooked teeth and bad hairstyle seemed to glare off the shiny paper every time. The pictures of my life similarly started to glare with many less than appealing parts. Soon after my children were born my storybook life was torn on the bookshelf of reality when anger, abuse, fear and eventually divorce were thrown in.
Nothing in my past had prepared me for this picture. I had never even seen pictures of how this was supposed to look. Even though I still wanted to do those main three things for my kids, the unlovely parts of my reality continued to glare at me and the resulting choices blurred the results. Thankfully, the best lens I used along the way was keeping Jesus as my closest friend and my source each day. Letting Him help me make the daily choice to obey the leading of His Spirit and fully confessing the times I failed. That one focus made the clearest difference in the landscape of my story.
In those hard times, my relationship with Jesus taught me how to depend on who God says He is, which added to the depth and clarity of each day’s snapshot. He has been everything from my Elohay Selichot (the God Who Is Ready to Forgive) to my Shub Nephesh (Renewer of Life) and He holds each day within His sturdy framework.
So today, as my heart stared at the current picture of my now adult children, their spouses and my new granddaughter, the desire to see them all love Jesus, love people and do life well is still strong. I feel the weight of responsibility of how I can still do this from the distance that this stage in life brings. I so quickly see all the ways I have done it wrong plus all the ways I tried too hard. So as I sat in my morning chair with Jesus I simply asked for a new lens to see this through, one that would take the weight of worry and guilt off my downcast head.
I sensed the Holy Spirit lead me to Matthew 16 and He introduced me to yet more of who He is. I read verses 13-15 where Jesus is asking the disciples who people say He is. They, in turn, tell Him the many names that have been given to Him. Then Jesus asked them the more important question. Who did the disciples say He was? It is then we see Peter give us his great statement of faith in verse 16:
“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”Matthew 16:16
Now, that is not the name that was new to me. I have known Jesus as my Messiah. my promised deliverer, since I was 9 years old. It was in the next verse where the name I now needed was found. Verse 17 says:
“And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”.Matthew 16:17
Do you see it? I hadn’t until today, even after 45 years as a follower of Jesus. Jesus, the son of the Living God showed me that God, His Father was the “Revealer”. A name He knew I needed in the current pages of my story. It is the name of God found clearly spoken of in Daniel. 2:47
[Nebuchadnezzar] the king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries…Daniel 2:47
This new picture was beautifully painted in my weary mind. A portrait of a God who would do the revealing necessary for me, my children and grandchildren. As I daily cried out to Him on their behalf I realized that it was not my flesh and blood that could do that job; had never done that job. It was God, my and their Heavenly Father who had and would be the”Revealer” of Himself to us all.
Right then I did exactly what I needed to do and must do daily; cast my cares on Him, the Mighty Revealer, because He does care for me and mine.
Therefore, as I move into my 57th year I will and can choose to look to God, the Revealer. I know I can trust Him because that is exactly who He was for me today.